This edition of Sir Thomas More is the first to bring the play into the context of a major Shakespeare series, to provide a substantial critical analysis, and to offer a comprehensive modern stage history. The introduction deals with issues such as the strange involvement of the anti-Catholic spy-hunter Anthony Munday as chief dramatist, the place of Sir Thomas More as a Catholic martyr in Protestant late Elizabethan culture, and the play's representation of a multi-cultural London.The text itself, supported by a searching and detailed commentary, adopts a distinctive presentation that enables readers to keep track of the manuscript and the hands that produced it, whilst engaging with the play as a fascinating theatrical piece.
Sir Thomas More deals with matters so controversial that it may never have reached performance on stage. The authors' determination to deal with rioting and religious politics led to a play that is compelling in its own right but also intriguing as a document of what could, and could not, be articulated in the early modern public theatre. Surviving only as a manuscript text on which Shakespeare was thought to have worked, it can be considered to be the most important play manuscript of the period, owing to its highly complex witness to collaboration between dramatists and to censorship.
Professor John Jowett is Chair of Shakespeare Studies at The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. He is a Series Editor of the Arden Early Modern Drama series and an Editor of the New Oxford Shakespeare Complete Works.